Football shirts are a very popular item of clothing. Almost every fan owns at least one and many collect them too. However, buying recycled and vintage football shirts is not always straightforward.
We regularly get messages from people asking if our football shirts are ’authentic’, ‘replica’ or ‘fake’. As with many other types of clothing, especially vintage, there is no one rule that tells you a shirt is a genuine one but there are a few things you can look out for.
Authentic player issue jerseys are designed with the best possible technology and fabrics for the highest level of play. They are an exact match to the jerseys you see players wearing on the field. Modern Authentic jerseys make use of high-performance, sweat-wicking fabric. They often have heat-pressed rubberised badges to reduce chafing, and other performance- related features. They are expensive for this reason, and because they are in high demand, considered premium fan apparel. Of course, because each major club only has one sole provider, this allows that provider to drive up costs without fear of competition.
Club issue jerseys are made for a fan in the stands – they are less expensive than the player-issue shirts, but are still produced with excellent materials for highest levels of comfort and wear. These Replica jerseys make use of conventional, affordable fabric technology designed to keep you cool and comfortable. This material is typical fabric weight.
For some of the smaller manufacturers (Kelme, Warrior amongst others) the player-issue shirts are made to the same specification as the replica shirts in the club shop.
There is another layer of official club shirts which are often sold with the sanction of the club but are not made by the official manufacturer. These are often on sale at kiosks and stalls in the streets around the stadium on match days. This is especially prevalent in Spain and Italy. They generally have the club logo on the neck label, but no manufacturers logo (or Swoosh) on the chest.
Labels and Logos: Check these look real- we’ve seen some really great looking shirts with cheap imitation labels or badly copied logos, the quality of the stitching in particular can be very indicative of a fake. A look at the wash label can be crucial in weeding out undesirable shirts- counterfeiters almost never go to the effort of copying something as seemingly insignificant, consequently they are often a crucial indicator as to whether a shirt is genuine or not.
Colours: If the colour seems a bit different it is probably a fake shirt. Colours are usually uniform, especially with later shirts. They don’t run, fade or bleed.
Quality of manufacture: Club issue shirts are usually well made, especially bigger clubs and modern versions of the shirts. They should have a good shape and have finished seams. The fabric should not seem cheap, thin or scratchy.
Tags etc: Jerseys produced from 2000 onwards increasingly make use of technological advances such as QR code labels and hologram badges.
The best advice is if you are unsure don’t buy, if the bargain seems too good to be true, it is, don’t buy.
To the best of our knowledge at Repsycho we only sell authentic club issue football shirts. After many years of handling, examining and selling football shirts we are pretty good at spotting rogue ones. But should you buy a shirt from us online that you are not completely happy about, we will refund your money.